Science X Newsletter Friday, Aug 28

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 28, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Demonstrating vortices as Brownian particles in turbulent flows

Fossil trees on Peru's Central Andean Plateau tell a tale of dramatic environmental change

How cells can find their way through the human body

Laser writing of nitrogen-doped silicon carbide for biological modulation

Energy firm says its nuclear-waste fueled diamond batteries could last thousands of years

An improved wearable, stretchable gas sensor using nanocomposites

Researchers find potential to make brain cancers in children respond better to treatment

Fidelity of El Nino simulation matters for predicting future climate

New malaria transmission patterns emerge in Africa

Children with no COVID-19 symptoms may shed virus for weeks

Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard

A surprising protein player in diabetes

Low-cost, fly footpad-like adhesive structure capable of repeated attachment/detachment

Multidimensional, dual-channel vortex beam generator

New framework for natural capital approach to transform policy decisions

Physics news

Demonstrating vortices as Brownian particles in turbulent flows

Brownian motion of particles in fluid is a common collective behavior in biological and physical systems. In a new report on Science Advances, Kai Leong Chong, and a team of researchers in physics, engineering, and aerospace engineering in China, conducted experiments and numerical simulations to show how the movement of vortices resembled inertial Brownian particles. During the experiments, the rotating turbulent convective vortical flow allowed the particles to move ballistically at first and diffusively after a critical time in a direct behavioral transition—without going through a hydrodynamic memory regime. The work implies that convective vortices have inertia-induced memory, so their short-term movement was well-defined in the framework of Brownian motion here for the first time.

Multidimensional, dual-channel vortex beam generator

Optical vortices, characterized by a helical phase front and doughnut-shaped intensity distribution, contribute to a broad range of applications, from microscopy to optical communications. And applications for optical vortices are proliferating. So, what's the best way to generate optical vortices? Active, direct emission from a laser cavity is considered one of the best approaches. For applications in quantum optics and super-resolution imaging, a laser source capable of generating vortices over a wide spectral range is essential.

Google conducts largest chemical simulation on a quantum computer to date

A team of researchers with Google's AI Quantum team (working with unspecified collaborators) has conducted the largest chemical simulation on a quantum computer to date. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their work and why they believe it was a step forward in quantum computing. Xiao Yuan of Stanford University has written a Perspective piece outlining the potential benefits of quantum computer use to conduct chemical simulations and the work by the team at AI Quantum, published in the same journal issue.

Tungsten isotope helps study how to armor future fusion reactors

The inside of future nuclear fusion energy reactors will be among the harshest environments ever produced on Earth. What's strong enough to protect the inside of a fusion reactor from plasma-produced heat fluxes akin to space shuttles reentering Earth's atmosphere?

Optical imaging enters sub-nanometer era

Prof. Dong Zhenchao and Prof. Hou Jianguo from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have improved the spatial resolution from 8 nm to ~8 Å of photoluminescence imaging. This has realized sub-molecular resolution with single molecule photofluorescence imaging for the first time.

Astronomy and Space news

First-ever mission to the Trojan asteroids passes NASA milestone

NASA has approved the final development stage of the Southwest Research Institute-led Lucy mission to explore the Trojan asteroids in preparation for its October 2021 launch.

NASA's Webb solar array reconnects to the telescope

One kilowatt is about what it takes to heat up some leftovers in a microwave—or to power the largest and most technically advanced telescope ever built. Thanks to its solar array, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will stay energy-efficient more than 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth.

Space debris observed for the first time during the day

On the afternoon of February 10, 2009, the operational communications satellite Iridium 33 collided with the obsolete Cosmos 2251 communications satellite over Siberia at an altitude of roughly 800 kilometers. The collision was at a speed of 11.7 kilometers a second and produced a cloud of more than 2,000 pieces of debris larger than ten centimeters. This debris spread out over an extensive area within a few months and has been threatening to collide with other operational satellites since then. This event was a wake-up call for all satellite operators, but also for politicians. "The problem of so-called space debris—disused artificial objects in space—took on a new dimension," says Professor Thomas Schildknecht, head of the Zimmerwald Observatory and deputy director of the Astronomical Institute at the University of Bern.

Jakob van Zyl, key Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer, dies

Jakob van Zyl, an engineer who held crucial positions at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was involved in numerous space exploration missions over decades, has died. He was 63.

Technology news

Energy firm says its nuclear-waste fueled diamond batteries could last thousands of years

A cellphone power source that lasts nine years. An auto-battery pack that lasts nearly a century. A pacemaker that is powered to last 28,000 years.

Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard

The decades-old dream of zipping around in the sky as simply as driving on highways may be becoming less illusory.

Algorithm aims to alert consumers before they use illicit online pharmacies

Consumers are expected to spend more than $100 billion at online pharmacies in the next few years, but not all of these businesses are legitimate. Without proper quality control, these illicit online pharmacies are more than just a commercial threat, they can create serious health threats.

Interactive tool uses AI to search transcripts and calculate the screen time of public figures

Cable TV news is a primary source of information for millions of Americans each day. The people that appear on cable TV news and the topics they talk about shape public opinion and culture. While many newsrooms and monitoring organizations routinely audit the content of news broadcasts, these efforts typically involve manually counting who and what is on the air.

Amateur drone videos could aid in natural disaster damage assessment

It wasn't long after Hurricane Laura hit the Gulf Coast Thursday that people began flying drones to record the damage and posting videos on social media. Those videos are a precious resource, say researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, who are working on ways to use them for rapid damage assessment.

Amazon has a new fitness tracker and wants to get personal

Amazon, the company that made shopping from a La-Z-Boy possible, is going into the fitness-tracking business.

Spooks called in as cyberattacks again halt NZ stock exchange

New Zealand's spy agency has been brought in to help fight back against cyberattacks that crippled the country's stock exchange for a fourth straight day on Friday.

Algorithm could quash Twitter abuse of women

Online abuse targeting women, including threats of harm or sexual violence, has proliferated across all social media platforms but QUT researchers have developed a statistical model to help drum it out of the Twittersphere.

Misinformation: Tech companies are removing 'harmful' coronavirus content – but who decides what that means?

The "infodemic" of misinformation about coronavirus has made it difficult to distinguish accurate information from false and misleading advice. The major technology companies have responded to this challenge by taking the unprecedented move of working together to combat misinformation about COVID-19.

United will cut up to 2,850 pilots without more federal aid

United Airlines said Thursday that it will furlough up to 2,850 pilots this fall unless the federal government provides more relief to help airlines cover their labor costs during a pandemic-fueled downturn in travel.

SoftBank to sell $12.5 bln shares of its Japan telecoms unit

SoftBank Group said Friday it will sell shares of its Japan telecoms unit SoftBank Group Corp worth approximately $12.5 billion as it pursues a push to increase cash reserves.

Chinese consumers could boycott Apple if US bans WeChat: ministry warns

Chinese consumers could boycott Apple if the United States bans WeChat, China's foreign ministry spokesman warned Friday, as the clock ticks down on a US order to block the popular social app.

Q&A: College COVID-19 pandemic apps should follow best practices for privacy, ethical computing

As students head back to campuses across the country, many colleges and universities are using mobile phone and web apps to help them manage the pandemic.

COVID-19 exposes broadband gaps

The COVID-19 crisis has increasingly highlighted shortcomings in Australia's National Broadband Network, Flinders University experts say.

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